Pick Your Palette
Still daunted? The best way to learn—and to avoid stacking the “oops” cans in the garage—is to experiment more boldly. Get over the idea that you can choose a color from a one- by two-inch paint strip. Buy a quart and try a patch, or choose a paint brand with larger samples. Yolo Colorhouse sells poster-size painted swatches of their colors for $6, complete with repositionable tape. Devine Color (sold at area Miller Paint locations) offers Mini Paint Pouches, which will cover four square feet, for $3.99.
Remember to border your poster swatch with white tape or primer to see exactly what it will look like when it is not against your old wall paint.
Overall, though, don’t stress. Paint isn’t permanent. The sky color will eventually change; spring and summer will come. You could, however, mix up your palette with the change of seasons if you’re so inclined. After all, it’s only paint.
Lucky for us, a few local companies have developed paint lines suitable to Portland’s palette.
Yolo Colorhouse (yolocolorhouse.com) paints are based off natural shades. They’re rich colors, but not too bright. For our region, cofounder Janie Lowe recommends Yolo’s Grain .05 on the walls and Air .04 on the ceiling, a combination that gives the illusion of a sun-drenched room. If you want to create the impression of greenery reflecting in from outside, replace Air. 04 with Air .05, which is off-white with a touch of green. $40 for one gallon, available at various locations.
After moving from Puerto Rico and desperately craving color, Gretchen Schauffler created Devine Color (devinecolor.com) specifically for the Pacific Northwest’s climate and light. Her line of 11 palettes and 128 colors is meant to make interiors warm, but not dark, and help to counteract Portland’s muted tones. $39 for one gallon, available at Miller Paint.
Benjamin Moore (kaleidoscopepaint.com) has also developed a Pacific Northwest-specific paint collection. The hues draw inspiration from our landscape itself, with shades encompassing earthy, saturated blues, plums, greens and browns. Ask for the Pacific Northwest Color Collectives pamphlet at Benjamin Moore retailers. $36–$48 for one gallon, available at Kaleidoscope Paint.
To help both Mother Nature and your decorating sense, pick out a few of Portland MetroPaint’s (metro-region.org/paint) 100 percent recycled latex paints. Since the 15 available colors are created by mixing together leftover colors, they’re naturally muted and therefore work well in Portland’s interiors. But be careful your chosen palette doesn’t become drab. $5–$9 for one gallon.